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Redefine ‘treat’ this Halloween

Video game maker teams with ADA for Stop Zombie Mouth campaign

This Halloween, raise awareness for oral health while offering a fun alternative to sugary treats.

Image: Plant vs. Zombie trading cards

The ADA is teaming up with PopCap Games, makers of the family-friendly hit video game Plants vs. Zombies, to launch “Stop Zombie Mouth,” a campaign aimed at encouraging good oral health among U.S. children and their parents. More than 120 million people worldwide are playing Plants vs. Zombies, and now dentists can give it away as a sugar-free Halloween treat.

Starting today and continuing through Halloween, PopCap will distribute one million free packs of Plants vs. Zombies game-inspired trading cards and other themed items with tips to keep teeth healthy, brought to life by the title’s beloved “fundead” icons as well as a new set of characters called the “Putrid Posse” developed just for the campaign.

In support of the campaign, 20,000 Stop Zombie Mouth kits have been created for ADA members. Each kit includes packs of five collectible trading cards with ADA branding and redemption codes for a free game download. There are 50 sets of cards in a box along with a poster and tent card for office display. The kits are free for members but the ADA will charge a nominal shipping fee. ADA member dentists can obtain free Stop Zombie Mouth kits to hand out to patients (redeemable for the full PC/Mac edition of Plants vs. Zombies) at www.adacatalog.org. Downloadable coupons will also be available from www.stopzombiemouth.com.

“For the first time in decades, tooth decay is on the rise in kids,” said Dr. William Calnon, ADA president. “Diet plays an important role in oral health. Too much candy can sow the seeds for cavities down the road, which is why the ADA is proud to team up with PopCap on the ‘Stop Zombie Mouth’ campaign.”

“Tooth decay in children is almost entirely preventable,” added Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, an ADA spokesperson on pediatric dentistry and a Plants vs. Zombies enthusiast. “Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and eating a balanced diet can lead to improved oral health and improved overall health. Working collaboratively, we can educate whole families in a fun way about the importance of proper oral health behaviors.”

Image: Stop Zombie Mouth trading card
Given Plants vs. Zombies’ 8.5 million Facebook fans, the Stop Zombie Mouth campaign will have a far reach. PopCap calls Plants vs. Zombies “a quirky blend of humor and offbeat characters combined with game play that’s accessible and challenging.” Besides computers, the game can be played on smartphones, tablets and portable game players.  

“We at PopCap have been interested in the potential for video games to provide benefits beyond entertainment for many years,” said John Vechey, PopCap co-founder and franchise studio director at PopCap, which was founded in 2000 and acquired by Electronic Arts in 2011. “We’re passionate about the very important cause behind the Stop Zombie Mouth campaign and proud to be highlighting yet another positive effect that games can have on society.”

Parents are already excited for the opportunity to educate their kids through Stop Zombie Mouth.

“We usually buy and give away a small mountain of candy at Halloween,” said Liza Geonie of Northport, N.Y., who plays Plants vs. Zombies with her 5-year old son. “Now we’ll be presenting trick-or-treaters with a choice: a piece of candy or a free video game. We feel great about giving kids a healthier option that’s a ton of fun, and we’re planning on buying a lot less candy this year.”

Stop Zombie Mouth will also be featured at the ADA Annual Session in San Francisco next month. “Zombies” will be on hand to promote the game, and members can obtain trading cards and try out the game at the ADA Welcome Center.

Patients who receive trading cards redeemable for a free copy of the game will have until Nov. 10 to download Plants vs. Zombies. Quantities are limited, so place your order today at www.adacatalog.org.